The 5 Best 3D Printers for Beginners in 2022

Start a new hobby or expand your design skills

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3D printing is not as expensive as people think. Some people assume you have to spend several hundred dollars, if not more, in order make 3D printing a new hobby. Maybe that was true when 3D printers were first introduced to the masses, but the price of 3D printers has dramatically declined over the last few years. As a result, the hobby is now more accessible to beginners who might not want to or might not be able to spend too much on a new interest.

Anybody can enjoy 3D printing. Whether you are a designer, artist, or just looking for something to do, there are 3D printers for everyone’s skillset. The best 3D printers for newcomers are easy to use, uncomplicated to build, and do not demand knowledge of modeling software. Many 3D printers are used to create art and hobby board game components, but can be utilized for countless other applications like architecture model design, dental appliances, jewelry, or toys.

Taking into account the amount of information available for 3D printers, we have thoroughly analyzed the 3D printer market to identify ideal devices for novice printers. Review our top picks of the best 3D printers for beginners spanning across different categories and price ranges. For a more comprehensive list of 3D printers, check out our assessment of the overall best 3D printers.

Best Overall: Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer

Comgrow Official Creality Ender 3 V2 3D Printer
What We Like
  • Budget friendly

  • Easy to use

  • Large, durable print bed

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to change filament mid-print

  • Leveling is challenging

  • No touchscreen

The Creality Ender 3 V2 3D printer has everything you could ever want in a beginner 3D printer without having to break the bank. Creality’s Ender 3 V2 costs under $300, making it inexpensive to introduce 3D printing as a hobby. The printer’s affordability is no reflection of the Ender 3 V2’s performance and quality. As such, this Creality 3D printer has landed the top spot of best beginner 3D printer. 

The Creality Ender 3 V2 is capable of printing in a number of materials. Specifically, the printer can handle PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, and flexible filaments. In dealing with flexible filaments, be mindful that alterations may be required, such as changing the filament mid-print. Even with potential precautions for certain materials, the 3D printer’s carborundum glass platform ensures the print bed, allowing a maximum build volume of 8.7 x 8.7 x 9.8-inches, provides uniform heat. In addition to even heating, the platform heats quickly, so each layer—especially your first layer—bonds to the bed without the assistance of adhesives. While your Ender 3 V2 is in motion, whether by utilizing a USB cable or SD card, the silent motherboard supports faster printing, stable motion performance, anti-interference, and low decibel operation.

Unfortunately, the printer’s 4.3-inch color LCD screen is not a touchscreen. Without touchscreen capability, the screen is still easy to navigate, and you can effortlessly change settings. In the event of a power loss, the printer is equipped with a resume printing function to restart at the last printed layer. The Creality Ender 3 V2 also has rotary knobs for tension belts and the extruder and tool drawers. These extras make it simple to add new filament, make adjustments, and organize tools.

Despite the stellar premium features, the Ender 3 V2 3D printer has two areas of weakness. For example, upgrading the extruder would improve printing but is not necessary for a quality product. Also, leveling the print bed can be challenging, but Creality Ender 3 V2’s can produce many prints between leveling. Regardless of desirable upgrades, this printer is the perfect choice to get you started.

Type: Filament (PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG) | Features: Resume printing function, silent motherboard, extruder rotary knob, carborundum glass platform | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: 4.3-inch color LCD screen

From terrain to figurines, I’ve been able to make so much with this printer and I’ve never had to use adhesive on the print bed.” — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Best Value: AnyCubic Photon UV LCD 3D Printer

AnyCubic Photon UV LCD 3D Printer
What We Like
  • Smooth, quality prints

  • Included software

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Small build volume

  • Complex process compared to filament printers

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, Anycubic’s Photon Mono UV 3D printer provides the best value for an introductory 3D printer. This resin printer has a sleek, modern industrial CNC metal design with a satin finish. Once out of the box, the setup is painless, thanks to the included software, so you will be able to begin printing in no time after plugging in via USB. In addition, the Photon Mono UV only has four settings that need customization on arrival instead of the full assembly and countless settings tweaks required by most 3D printers. 

Here, fewer settings do not mean you are making any substantial sacrifices. The printer’s resolution is reasonably high with first-rate accuracy and smooth detail. For instance, Photon Mono UV’s XY-axis has a resolution of almost 50 microns, and Z-axis can print layers down to 10 microns. The capacity of each axis supplies a smoother finish than a low-end filament printer. Together, printers can produce a final product up to 130mm x 80mm x 165mm. Additionally, Anycubic’s printing speed is almost three times faster than regular 3D printers. Throughout the printing process, the Photon Mono UV employs 15 pcs lamp beads to generate a matrix parallel light to distribute heat evenly and boost precision.

Navigating the 3D printer is a breeze due to the 6-inch, 2K monochrome LCD screen. The interactive interface allows users to preview the monitor and print status in real-time. The screen’s lifespan is quadruple the amount of an RGB LCD screen that cuts down on materials and expenses. If you run into trouble learning how to use your printer, you can always refer back to the included software.

Since the Photon Mono UV prints with liquid resin, it behaves differently than a filament printer. Namely, resin printers cure liquid resin using UV light. To avoid ruining prints, resin printers need a cover to block ineffective light from interacting with the prints. Do not worry about buying a separate cover because AnyCubic incorporated a UV blocking cover with the Photon Mono UV’s design. For an additional cost, you can purchase a Wash & Cure Machine from AnyCubic. While a resin printer like the Photon Monn UV develops a smoother end product, the development process is different and more complex than using a filament printer.

Type: Resin | Features: Included slicer software, UV blocking cover, Easy FEB replacement, fast print speed | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: 6-inch 2K monochrome LCD

Best Budget: MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

MYNT3D Super 3D Pen
What We Like
  • No need for a computer

  • Does not clog easily

  • Slider speed control for ideal extrusion speed

What We Don't Like
  • Limited printing capabilities

  • Minimal compatible materials

Looking for a 3D printer that costs less than $50? MYNT3D has you covered. Although MYNT3D’s Super 3D Pen is not a traditional 3D printer, it gets the job done as the pen works like a filament printer. Considering the prices of most 3D printers, the Super 3D Pen is likely your only real option in the sub-$50 price range.  Luckily, the pen is exactly as it sounds. The Super 3D Pen emits instantly-cooled PLA or ABS filament, so you can “draw” almost any shape in 3D. As you probably guessed, accuracy or lack thereof is the biggest issue with opting for a 3D pen over an actual 3D printer. Do not expect the precision or larger-sized final product you would get by using a traditional 3D printer.

The good news for beginners is that printing freehand offers unmatched benefits. The Super 3D Pen allows you to quickly and easily create and repair 3D shapes without first designing them on a computer. To use your 3D printer pen, the setup is very minimal. After inserting filament into the pen, wait for the indicator light to turn red, adjust the speed slider, then press the feed button to print. To alternate between different filaments, you can use the pen’s temperature adjustment screw. With the Super 3D Pen’s ultrasonics sealed nozzle and speed slider, clogging and irregular flow should not present issues during drawing.

Due to the lightweight nature and ergonomic design, MYNT3D’s Super 3D Pen is easy to transport. Unlike a traditional 3D printer, you can bring your 3D pen with you to craft on the go. However, considering the Super 3D Pen’s limitations, it is probably best suited for kids yearning to create.

Type: 3D Pen (PLA, ABS) | Features: Readiness indicator light, speed slider, ultrasonic sealed nozzle | Connectivity: None | LCD Screen: None

Best for Tinkerers: Monoprice Select Mini 2

Monoprice Select Mini 2
What We Like
  • Fully assembled and integrated software

  • Can work with numerous materials

  • Multiple connectivity options

What We Don't Like
  • Aluminum, non-glass print bed

  • Extremely compact

For newbies who desire a 3D printer equipped with all the bells and whistles, the Monoprice Select Mini 2 is a solid mid-range printer. The Select Mini 2 is not the most advanced 3D printer on the market, but it is more advanced compared to other printers on our list. Even with the premium features that Monoprice integrated into the Select Mini 2’s design, the 3D printer is effortless to operate. Not only does the printer ship fully assembled, but the printer’s software is also already fully integrated. If you are familiar with a popular program like Cura or Repetier, you will not have much of a learning curve. Furthermore, the pre-calibrated Select Mini 2 is agreeable with your slicer of choice and preferred computer operating system, whether it be Windows or Mac.

Monoprice’s 3D printer allows you to work with various advanced and straightforward materials thanks to the heated build plate and range of extruder temperatures. For instance, the maximum temperature is 482°F which can manipulate a lot of materials. With whatever materials you decide to utilize, you will enjoy a printing speed of 55mm per second. The Select Mini 2 has cooling fans within the all-metal nozzle and the mainboard to cool materials quickly. While the printer’s aluminum print bed can withstand high temperatures, it is not as durable as a glass print bed. 

Regrettably, the Monoprice Select Mini 2 has a relatively small build scope of 4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7-inches. Moreover, given its open design and absence of a protective enclosure, you will need to be careful around the heated build plate to avoid burning yourself. On the flip side, the 3D printer is compact enough to sit comfortably on any desk. Incorporated within the Select Mini 2’s small footprint design is a 3.7-inch IPS screen and MicroSDTM card. Monoprice also provided an extra connectivity option, in addition to the traditional USB cable, via Wi-Fi.

Type: Filament (PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG) | Features: Wi-Fi connectivity, fully assembled, heated build plate, small-footprint design | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | LCD Screen: 3.7-inch IPS color screen

Most Versatile: FlashForge Finder 3D Printer

What We Like
  • Assisted leveling system

  • Cloud-enabled

  • Seamless build plate removal

What We Don't Like
  • Suits only PLA material

  • Small build volume

If you’re shopping for a 3D printer with even more premium functions than the Monoprice Select Mini 2, the FlashForge Finder will likely suit your needs as it is one of the most versatile printers available. First, the Finder 3D printer works with any computer operating system. Thus, windows, Mac, and Linux users alike can enjoy the printer. Next, FlashForge designed the 3D printer so that it could connect to your computer by diverse means. The Finder can connect through a USB cable, over Wi-Fi, or even using a USB drive. Once your printer is up and running, you can explore several intelligent features. 

For example, FlashForge inserted an assisted leveling system. Via instructions on the printer's 3.5-inch color touchscreen, users can calibrate the build plate for precise printing. Typically, leveling can be incredibly difficult, so having clear, step-by-step instructions will eliminate complications. Speaking of the build plate, the Finder's slide-in plate is non-heated and can be easily removed from the machine. This particular build plate allows you to avoid damaging your creation and the build plate itself. Having a non-heated plate also reduces the potential safety concerns presented by heated plates. Any heated components within the 3D printer are safely encased. Moreover, the Finder is constructed with sturdy plastic alloy, so the printer remains stable, especially during printing. Considering FlashForge’s printer has a build volume of 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5-inches, the plastic alloy is the perfect construction material.

Operating at 50 decibels and under (about the same as your refrigerator), the Finder is suitable for late-night use—even if you have little ones sleeping—and quiet environments. Need updates throughout the printing process? You can utilize FlashForge’s FlashCloud to keep an eye on your printing status. Along with monitoring the development of your 3D creation, you can preserve, edit, and share your models and view a database of models.

When it comes to filament suitable for printing, the 3D printer only prints non-toxic PLA. To kick off your printing hobby, FlashForge generously furnishes a free spool with your purchase. After making it through the first spool, you can purchase refills from either FlashForge or other brands. Thankfully, since PLA is the most popular type of filament, you should have no problems restocking.

Type: Filament (PLA only) | Features: Quiet printing, Wi-Fi, slide in build plate, assisted leveling system, Cloud functionality | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Cloud functionality | LCD Screen: 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen

Most Build Volume: ANYCUBIC Mega-S 3D Printer

Anycubic Mega-S
What We Like
  • Extraordinary build volume

  • Remarkable resolution

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Loud during operation

  • Complaints of damaged hardware upon arrival

Anycubic has made the list again with Mega-S, its relatively inexpensive 3D printer, for those wanting to print larger objects. By larger, we mean the Mega-S can produce figures with a build volume of 8.2 x 8.2 x 8.0-inches. Even with such a sizeable volume, the printer’s resolution spans from approximately 50 to 300 microns. What’s more, this printer gets hot! With the Titan extruder’s ability to operate at 527°F, the Mega-S suits many materials entailing the most common materials and wood. Additionally, the magnetic heated print bed can warm to 212°F. To be priced under $300, a 3D printer with these specifications is unheard-of.

While there have been complaints that the printer has minor damage on arrival, the Mega-S is not burdened with any major issues. These reports are easily resolved by customer service and do not reflect the durability of the 3D printer. In particular, Anycubic’s unique Ultrabase feature is present on the print bed. Ultrabase is a unique textured bed that encourages filaments to adhere to increase reliability and improve print quality. Anycubic fell short of not inserting insulation as the Mega-S can be a little loud during operation.

The Mega-S is not shipped fully assembled. However, the printer arrives 90% pre-assembled as the main components are already put together. Users only have to follow a few steps to get it up and running. Anycubic’s 3D printer is delivered with a ton of accessories like a USB cable, card reader, sample filament, tools to clear blockages, extra nozzles, and more. The printer’s all-metal frame surprisingly only weighs roughly 15 pounds. Not only is the Mega Zero portable, but your digital 3D models are too! Anycubic made the 3D printer SD card compatible to import your designs. In addition to the accessories mentioned earlier, the printer also comes with an SD card loaded with designs.

Type: TPU/PLA/ABS/HIPS/PETG/Wood | Features: Resume print and sensor detection, lifetime technical support, large printing size | Connectivity: Memory card, data cable | LCD Screen: 3.5-inch color touchscreen

Final Verdict

The best 3D printer for beginners is the Official Crealty Ender 3 V2. It is easy to use, well-suited for a variety of filaments, and it has a good-sized print bed. The resume function and low operating noise are great for any environment. If you do not need or cannot afford a full-sized, traditional printer, the MYNT3D Super 3D Pen is a great option. The Super 3D Pen is a super affordable option for those who just want the design basics without any added frills. With the pen, you can quickly and easily create your work.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nicky LaMarco has been writing and editing for more than 15 years for consumer, trade, and technology publications about many topics including antivirus, web hosting, and backup software.

What to Look For in a 3D Printer For Beginners

Print Bed Size

Establish how big or small you want for your creations. Print beds vary in size, so you need a large enough bed to print the size of desired 3D products. Smaller print beds are typically challenging if you want moderately sized or larger products. Software may be necessary to divide the model and then glue segments together, which can be difficult. If you are unsure of the size of items you will want, opt for a bed with several inches on each side.

Heated Print Bed

The print bed temperature is vitally important to ensure your first printed layer sticks to the bed properly. Without a heated bed, you will likely create something that resembles a bird's nest made of plastic. If a heated print bed is not in your required specifications, a glass bed is another viable option that supports adhesion. Other bed types can undoubtedly work but may need an adhesive to perform optimally, translating to more work and more money.

Type of Material

Do you want to use resin or filament? There are pros and cons to both. Filament tends to be a bit easier to use. On the other hand, the resin is not as effortless as it requires curing and cleaning but prints smoother. If you decide on a 3D printer that employs filament, make sure your printer can use the type of filament you fancy, as some printers can use only a certain type of filament.

FAQ
  • Are 3D printers easy to use?

    Like any new hobby, 3D printing takes a bit of time to learn, but the basics can be easily understood through a wealth of online tutorials and content. Expect to spend about a day or two learning about 3D printing and getting set up before getting your first print started. You also do not need to learn how to design in 3D, as there are tons of sites that provide free designs. Once you learn the basics, you will be easily printing and can learn more as you go.

  • How much is a decent 3D printer?

    A good entry-level home 3D printer should cost around $300 to $400. In this price range, you will get a quality printer with some good features and will be able to print some fun items. Once you decide if you like the hobby or not, you can choose whether you want to spend more on a printer with a bigger print bed and more advanced features. We suggest you start off with a basic printer though, as a small printer can definitely help you gauge your level of interest in the hobby.

  • Is a 3D printer a good investment?

    Yes, 3D printing can actually be a good way to save money, and you can wind up with some very cool and unusual items. You can 3D print everything from tools to shelving to toys for your kids. You can even print large items on an entry-level printer if you are comfortable with connecting the pieces together.

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